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knowledge is power

Knowledge is power when you’re suffering from a prolapse

Suffering from a prolapse (especially a severe one) can be deeply distressing. It can make you feel powerless and confused, particularly if it occurred suddenly. However, understanding your condition and what you can do about it is a great way to regain your balance and put yourself back in control. Here at The Pelvic Clinic, we believe that information has great practical and emotional value for individuals suffering from a prolapse. That’s why we encourage you to use our website to research prolapses or contact us for more facts and figures. But what sort of information should you seek out or be aware of?

1. Proper terminology

Understanding the medical terminology surrounding your prolapse can make it easier to converse with medical professionals on the subject and get the type of help that you want or need. For example, it’s very important to understand the difference between a hysterectomy and a sacrohysteropexy operation. Whereas a hysterectomy involves removing the uterus, a sacrohysteropexy simply repositions it. Both procedures can correct your prolapse, but it’s important for you to make an informed choice regarding which one is right for you. You should also be aware the severity of a prolapse is measured in degrees. A first-degree prolapse is the least severe and a fourth-degree prolapse is the most severe. While this terminology may seem esoteric, learning it will empower you to talk about your prolapse with your doctor or surgeon and allow you to reclaim a sense of control.

2. Statistics

Knowing some statistics about prolapses can greatly alleviate your feelings of distress. This is because most of the statistics that relate to prolapse repair operations are very reassuring. For example, it’s important for you to know that our surgeon here at The Pelvic Clinic, Mr. Jonathan Broome, has carried out well over a thousand successful sacrohysteropexy operations.

3. Symptoms

We have several blogs and web pages that cover the symptoms associated with prolapses. Researching symptoms as soon as you are diagnosed with a prolapse is a good idea because it means you won’t be taken by surprise if new symptoms develop. Knowing what to expect is a great way to maintain a sense of composure and control.

4. Procedures

Finally, you should thoroughly research your chosen prolapse repair operation. You should know how long it will take, what stages it will be divided into and what type of surgery will be involved. You should also familiarise yourself with the typical recovery time. This information will allow you to feel less daunted by the procedure.

If you need any information about your prolapse that you can’t find on this blog or elsewhere on our website, don’t hesitate to contact us directly.

Coping with the emotional impact of a prolapse

If you read our blog regularly, you’re probably aware of the physical symptoms associated with uterine prolapses. However, you may not know about the emotional and psychological symptoms that go with them. If you’re suffering from a prolapse (or are at risk of having one), it’s important for you to be prepared for the psychological impact it might have on you. In today’s blog, we’ll talk about the most common effects a prolapse can have on your state of mind and emotions and suggest a few simple coping mechanisms that you can use until your prolapse is repaired.

1. Anger and frustration

Prolapses can often be painful enough to stop you doing things you normally love. They can limit the range of activities and pastimes that you can participate in, thereby forcing you to make changes to your lifestyle. Obviously, this can lead to feelings of frustration and a sense of anger. You can alleviate these feelings by concentrating on the fact that you will be able to resume your active hobbies and pastimes once you have been through prolapse repair surgery and are fully recovered. In the meantime, we recommend taking up a less physically strenuous hobby or activity that your prolapse won’t interfere with. This will help you fill your time and eliminate the feeling that you have nothing to do, thereby ameliorating your anger and frustration.

2. Embarrassment

Embarrassment is the most common psychological response to a prolapse. It can be a deeply uncomfortable emotional state and may evolve into a feeling of shame if it isn’t addressed. The best way to deal with embarrassment is simply to push past it and talk to people about the thing that’s embarrassing you. Start by talking to those you feel closest to, such as your family and your closest friends, and ask for their support. You’ll be surprised how quickly your embarrassment fades away.

3. Depression

It’s sometimes possible for prolapse sufferers to feel depressed as a result of their condition. The frustration, pain and embarrassment can develop into a depressive psychological malaise. If you suffer from this problem, following the tips that we gave in points 1 and 2 can help you address its root cause. However, you may also wish to talk to a psychiatric professional or counsellor if it begins to impact your daily ability to function.

Here at The Pelvic Clinic, our sacrohysteropexy operation can be used to fix your uterine prolapse and free you of the physical symptoms. Or it may be that another procedure is required to help you. However, it’s important to be aware of the mental and emotional symptoms, too, so that you can practise appropriate self-care techniques. If you’d like any more information on how to alleviate your prolapse, contact us today.

four stages of prolapse

How severe is your prolapse?

As you are probably aware, all prolapses are deeply unpleasant and can be very embarrassing. However, you may not realise that some are more severe than others. There are several different and distinct degrees of severity. The higher degrees are worse than the lower degrees, but all of them are treatable with appropriate prolapse repair surgery. Here at The Pelvic Clinic, we believe that it’s important for you to know about these different degrees of severity. If you know how severe your prolapse is, you can make a fully informed choice regarding the course of action you want to take.

1. First-degree prolapse

First-degree prolapses are the least extreme type. You may feel some discomfort or pain if you have a first-degree prolapse, but there is also a chance that you won’t. Basically, a first-degree prolapse can be characterised as a prolapse where the cervix has fallen into the vagina but not dropped any further. If you discover that you have this type of prolapse, you should seek medical treatment, even if it isn’t causing you discomfort. However, you shouldn’t panic. While you need medical treatment, you may not need it urgently. Ar this stage, it is always helpful to have some intensive physiotherapy to see of this can repair the pelvic floor muscles.

2. Second-degree prolapse

In this type of prolapse, the cervix hasn’t simply dropped down into the vagina: it has descended to the level of the vaginal opening. This type of prolapse is more likely to cause discomfort or pain than a first-degree prolapse and may prove to be a more a serious problem if it is left untreated for too long. We recommend seeking medical treatment and considering the possibility of prolapse repair surgery as soon as you find out that you have this type of prolapse.

3. Third-degree prolapse

If you have this type of prolapse, it is imperative that you seek medical treatment and start preparing for prolapse repair without delay. This type of prolapse can be very painful and can seriously damage your quality of life if it isn’t treated. It may also develop into a fourth-degree prolapse.

4. Fourth-degree prolapse or ‘procidentia’

In this type of prolapse, the cervix and uterus both drop to outside of the vagina. This condition may be extremely painful and even debilitating. It must not be left untreated and should be redressed using prolapse repair surgery. If you have this type of prolapse, you should deal with it urgently.

Regardless of how severe your prolapse is, Mr Broome has the expertise and experience to offer you appropriate treatment. Contact The Pelvic Clinic today for more information.

activities after prolapse repair

Getting back into physically active hobbies following a sacrohysteropexy

Uterine prolapses can be exceptionally painful. In fact, they can prevent you from undertaking activities that you might normally enjoy. If you have a lot of physically active hobbies, a uterine prolapse may steal them from you. After all, nobody wants to undertake a vigorous physical activity if it causes them pain.

If you have suffered a prolapse, our reliable, highly successful sacrohysteropexy procedure can help you recover. However, once you’ve made a full recovery, you may wonder how you can get back into all the physical activities you used to enjoy. Here at The Pelvic Clinic, we care about your post-prolapse well-being and would like to offer you some advice on returning to an active lifestyle following your recovery.

1. Reach out to friends

If any of your friends participate in the same activities you used to enjoy before your prolapse, talking to them can help you get involved in those activities again. They can offer encouragement and even help you participate. For example, if you enjoyed a sport before your prolapse made it impossible to play, they can play it with you once you’ve recovered. Never underestimate how helpful your friends can be when it comes to recovering aspects of your pre-prolapse life.

2. Ease into it

You may be tempted to launch yourself back into your favourite activities as soon as you’ve recovered. However, this isn’t necessarily the best course of action. If you haven’t undertaken them in a long time, your body may no longer be accustomed to the physical strain of these activities. It’s important not to overdo it. If possible, you should participate in your active hobbies more gently or for shorter periods of time at first. You can build back up to your pre-prolapse levels of participation over time.

3. Be aware of your limits

Following a successful sacrohysteropexy, you should be able to do almost all of the things that you did before your prolapse. However, there are some things you should avoid, such as heavy lifting and extreme physical strain. When participating in a physically active hobby after prolapse repair surgery, remember your limits. You can continue to enjoy your favourite activities with no discomfort or pain provided you don’t push yourself too far.

For further advice on returning to life after prolapse repair surgery, feel free to contact us here at The Pelvic Clinic.

hidden symptoms

The hidden symptoms of a prolapse

Some prolapse symptoms are very obvious and easy to recognise. For example, sufferers may bleed from the vagina, experience pain during intercourse or even feel like something is falling out of them that needs to be pushed back inside. However, not everyone who suffers from a prolapse will exhibit these symptoms. There are also subtler, less obvious symptoms that you should be aware of. If you exhibit any of these symptoms, you may be suffering from a prolapse. To help you, we’ve prepared an annotated list of these recondite symptoms.

1. Backache

There are lots of reasons for backache, ranging from your posture to injuries you may have suffered in the past. However, backache can also be a sign of prolapse. If you suffer from a persistent, dull backache, you should consider the possibility that you might have a prolapse. This is especially true if you have any of the other symptoms on this list or have another reason to believe you might have suffered a prolapse.

2. Leaking bladder, incontinence or frequent need to urinate

Do you need to go to the toilet too often, suffer from incontinence or experience bladder leakage? If so, your problems might be the result of a prolapse. A prolapsed uterus can press on your bladder and cause all of the issues that we have just described.

3. Constipation

A prolapse can sometimes pull on the rectum and effect its position, thereby making it difficult for you to go to the bathroom. If you have suffered from persistent constipation despite having a relatively healthy diet, you may have a prolapse.

4. Pelvic pressure or a feeling of stretching in the groin area

As we mentioned in the introduction, not all prolapses are painful. Many can only be felt as a form of pressure in the pelvic region or a stretching sensation in the groin.

5. Widened vaginal opening

Prolapses can cause the opening to the vagina to widen, due to the pressure it puts on that region of your body. If yours seems unusually wide, you should think about the possibility that you are suffering from a prolapse.

Not all prolapse suffers experience these symptoms. In fact, some are completely symptom-free. However, if you have been dealing with any of the problems listed in today’s blog, here at The Pelvic Clinic we believe you should investigate the possibility that you might have a prolapse. You can talk to your own doctor or reach out to us for more information.

 

5 Reasons for prolapse

5 common causes of pelvic organ prolapse (POP)

Pelvic organ prolapse affects 40%-60% of women who have had children. In the UK, 1 in 12 women report prolapse symptoms and it is a common reason for a hysterectomy. Pelvic organ prolapse can bring on distressing symptoms and happens when your pelvic organs, uterus, cervix, bladder or rectum move from their usual position and bulge into your vaginal canal. Quite rightly we would all wish to do what we can to prevent this condition and the first step towards doing this is understanding its causes:

1. Vaginal delivery

The physical pressures and hormones released during pregnancy have a negative impact on the ligaments and muscles that support the pelvic organs. After a vaginal delivery these muscles are weakened by stretching to accommodate your baby. The risks of prolapse during a vaginal birth can be increased by a labour with a long pushing stage, a heavier baby or a forceps delivery. Pelvic floor exercises and appropriate rest are essential preventatives.

2. Obesity

As well as being bad for your general health, being overweight puts pressure on your pelvic organs and can cause prolapse. Changes to eating habits can improve the symptoms of a wide variety of gynaecological problems.

3. Issues with defecation

Regular constipation can lead to over-straining when you pass a stool. This puts unwanted pressure on the pelvic organs and, if it happens over an extended period of time, can lead to prolapse.

4. Heavy lifting

Heavy lifting, including weight-lifting can cause pelvic floor issues, especially if a woman already has a weakness or has had surgery in that area. That said, pelvic floor and abdominal exercises can go a long way to preventing or reducing symptoms.

5. Recurrent cough or vomiting

Chronic coughing (i.e. coughing that is regular and long term) or ongoing vomiting (as in morning sickness) puts pressure on pelvic muscles and can cause pelvic prolapse.

Understanding the causes of pelvic organ prolapse will not necessarily mean that you can prevent it or reverse your symptoms. However it will go a long way towards helping you work out a pelvic health plan and understanding why you need to stick to it.

steps to recovery after prolapse

The dos and don’ts of post-prolapse recovery

There are several vital steps you must take after suffering a prolapsed uterus and to protect any prolapse repair you may have had. As with most areas of medicine there are definite dos and don’ts. Here’s a run down of what you should and shouldn’t be doing during your post surgery recovery.

Do…

• Spend time exercising your pelvic floor muscles. You should start exercises, like kegel exercises after you have received treatment and your specialist has cleared you to begin.

• Wear high quality underwear, such as support briefs, to help hold everything in place for you.

• Ensure you have regular and healthy bowel movements – i.e. avoid constipation and ensure you never strain.

• Alternate your activities between sitting and standing in order to avoid standing for prolonged periods. This is especially vital while you are in recovery from any kind of surgery to repair your pelvic floor.

• Complete any tasks or chores early in the day.

• Split your tasks so that you do them little but often, for example, vacuum over a few days rather than doing the whole house in one go. If you are overweight, lose any excess weight you are carrying, and ensure you stay in a healthy weight range.

• Rest in the afternoon and, when possible, elevate your legs.

• Maintain a good posture.

• If you suffer from chronic forms of hayfever, sneezing or coughing, speak to your doctor about managing them.

Don’t…

• Strain during bowel movements or allow yourself to become constipated.

• Do any pulling, pushing, heavy lifting, or bending.

• Smoke – aside from the general health risks, the associated coughing is very bad for prolapse recovery.

• Any high impact sports such as sit-ups, jogging, high impact aerobics and horse-riding.

• Any form of heavy resistance training.

• Intense abdominal or core body exercises.

• Become overweight.

For more information about prolapse surgery and repair, contact Mr Jonathan Broome at The Pelvic Clinic.

 

different body shapes pelvic repair surgery

Prolapse prevention tips for heavier individuals

Here at The Pelvic Clinic, we often advise prolapse sufferers (and people who are at risk of prolapse) to take steps to manage their weight. Extra bodyweight can put a strain on the pelvic floor and make it harder to avoid or recover from a prolapse. However, we also understand that not everyone is in a position to limit their weight. Some people are naturally bigger than others, while others simply aren’t successful when it comes to dieting. It’s also inadvisable for individuals who are recovering from eating disorders to attempt to restrict their weight, in case it triggers a relapse.

If you aren’t able to lose weight, there’s no need to panic. There are plenty of other things you can do to prevent a prolapse; here are just three tips for everyday exercises:

1. Performing pelvic exercises

Extra weight can strain your pelvic floor, so it’s a good idea to strengthen it to counteract this strain. There are plenty of exercises that can help you do this. For example, wall squats, jumping jacks and crunches are all fantastic for building up your pelvic muscles. If you can’t perform more strenuous exercises (or think they might trigger a prolapse), its worth doing ordinary, gentle forms of exercise instead. Walking and cycling can improve your overall physical fitness and make your pelvic floor stronger.

2. Getting more fibre in your diet

Ensuring that you get enough fibre in your diet can drastically reduce your risk of prolapse. Fibre makes it easier to pass solid waste, thereby reducing the strain on your pelvic floor whenever you use the bathroom. If you’re carrying a little extra weight, this may help balance out the effect of the strain this weight puts on your pelvic floor. So eat plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables and grains.

3. Avoiding heavy lifting

Avoid putting additional strain on your pelvic muscles by not lifting heavy objects. Lifting heavy objects on a regular basis can put more of a strain on your pelvic floor than being overweight, so it’s best to avoid this kind of lifting if you want to reduce your risk of a prolapse.

Of course, individuals of average weight can also use these methods to reduce their risk of prolapse. However, it’s particularly important for heavier individuals to put them into practice. Contact us for more information about prolapse prevention and prolapse repair surgery.

 

start the conversation about prolapse

Starting the conversation about uterine problems

Despite living in a time where oversharing is common place (think Instagram pictures of your breakfast), women often keep the most intrusive of problems hidden from their closest friends and family. We need to empower women to begin talking to each other, supporting each other and crucially educating each other not just about recognising the symptoms of uterine problems, but also the growing choices in treatment too. Women should no longer be suffering in silence.

Countless women are touched by uterine problems, including uterine pain, prolapse or uterine bleeding. However, huge progress has been made in the management and treatment of uterine prolapse and women need to know about it.

Increasing awareness of sacrohysteropexy

Leading the charge in the surgical advances is Mr Jonathan Broome of The Pelvic Clinic. One of the surgeries that we need to begin talking about is a sacrohysteropexy. Very few health care professionals and women know about this laparoscopy operation and how it returns the uterus to its normal position. It’s relatively quick, taking around just 30 minutes and requiring only a one night stay in hospital. This is by no means the only treatment option but it is one that we need to make sure women know is available to them.

Don’t suffer in silence

Living with severe uterine prolapse can be incredibly challenging, more so because many women are suffering in silence. It is not like a broken arm or leg – something visible, something that others can identify with – so the first step is starting the conversation. If you’re suffering with chronic uterus pain, reach out. You may find that others have been in the same position and can provide vital emotional and practical support. Secondly, seeking a consultation with an expert like Mr Jonathan Broome may reveal that there are more options open to you than you could have imagined. Additionally, it can often be a surprise to women how minimally invasive these treatment options are when compared to how much discomfort and upset that severe uterine pain can cause.

Prolapse repair surgery can help women take their lives back, becoming free from chronic pain has been described as feeling like a person is reborn. Start your first conversation today!

 

Lifestyle tweaks and home remedies for a prolapsed uterus

When you have or are recovering from a prolapsed uterus there are, depending on how severe your condition is, several self-care measures that can prevent your condition worsening, and aid in your recovery.

The following are very useful:

• Performing Kegel exercises
• Completing household chores while seated
• Lying down after meals and placing a pillow under your buttocks
• Avoiding constipation where possible by eating high-fibre foods, and drinking plenty of water
• Avoiding straining and heavy lifting
• Trying to control any coughing
• Don’t smoke – you will find smoking only aggravates the symptoms of prolapse
• If you are obese or overweight, weight loss is highly recommended
• Consider completing a juice fast.

Most of these measures are very simple.

Kegel exercises

Kegel exercises are used to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles that support your uterus, bowel, and bladder. The stronger your pelvic floor the better support your pelvic organs have. Greater support will relieve symptoms associated with a uterine prolapse.

Kegel exercises are very simple to perform, follow these easy steps:

Contract and tighten your pelvic floor muscles in the same way you would stop yourself from urinating. Hold each contraction for five seconds, release it for five seconds, and repeat. If you struggle to hold for five seconds initially, start by holding for two, and relaxing for three, and build it up.

Slowly build your ability so that you can hold your contractions for a full ten seconds. Once you are able to do this, perform three sets of ten repetitions daily. Kegel exercises are the most effective when you are taught by a physiotherapist, so you may want to see a specialist to learn them initially. It is, however, perfectly possible to teach yourself at home. The best part about Kegel exercises is that they are very discreet. Once you know how to do them you can practice them any time, any where, and nobody will ever know!

For more information about Mr Jonathan Broome and the sacrohysteropexy procedure, contact us today.